Sarah Kooiman

Sarah Kooiman is my SECOND voucher winner to be photographed from the Women’s Day Giveaway!  She is a remarkable woman, working hard as the co-founder/owner of Mke Moms Blog.

Sarah was terrified to be photographed.  She was so nervous she even cried about ten minutes into her photo shoot once we started shooting.  But with some gentle encouragement, she was able to relax into the process and we came away with some stunning portraits. 🙂  And so, her experience with me was a really inspirational and moving one – so much so that she dedicated an entire story on the Mke Mom’s Blog to her experience.  I’d like to share an excerpt from that here, but be sure to visit the blog itself for the full story from her.  It’s 100% worth reading.

“I feel like we are so scared of coming across as selfish that we are terrified to do anything for ourselves, including taking and printing photos.

I know I struggle with this. Like, something fierce. Half the time, I feel guilty for spending money on a haircut. When a member of our MKE Moms Blog Contributor Team nominated me for a personal portrait photo shoot with Jennifer Brindley on International Women’s Day, she did so by writing a moving paragraph about me and I immediately felt guilty. I mean, it was so sweet she was saying those things about me and I was truly honored, but of all the deserving women in the Milwaukee area, why on earth would she think to nominate me?

As I walked up the stairs to Jennifer’s studio for our initial consultation, I could feel the anxiety rise into my throat. I was in leggings and an oversized sweater and I certainly didn’t feel glamorous or special or like this was even remotely a sane idea.

Jennifer’s bright smile and gentle demeanor immediately puts her clients at ease, even those who are really struggling with the very idea of taking the portraits.

She coached me on every. single. thing. Down to where to put my hands, how to position my body, how to elongate my neck, what to do with my face, you name it. All I had to do was follow instructions and enjoy! We rocked out to music, laughed and by the end of the session, I was already giving her “giraffe neck” without even being told!

It was seriously the coolest experience. After the initial anxiety wore off, I felt like a star.

THE REVEAL:  Words are my thing. But I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that seeing the final images from my shoot with Jennifer left me grasping for words. The wall was filled with beautiful images of a woman who I recognized and yet didn’t and I stared at each one of them just in awe of the transformation that had taken place through Jennifer’s lens.  Instead of a self-conscious, fearful woman, I saw a confident, powerful woman with a striking gaze. She was BEAUTIFUL. 

I spent a long time picking up each image and deciding which ones I wanted to keep in my folio box. Once I had it narrowed down to a dozen photos, those prints went into a beautiful linen box along with a jump drive with the digital files. I took the box home and proudly handed it to my husband, who opened it to the top photo and gasped.

Leaving a Legacy:  Yeah, having some pretty pictures of you is nice. Definitely, make a point of handing your iPhone to someone else and get in the photo with your kids more often. But there is something that is timeless about portraits like the ones Jennifer creates. In an era of Fast Photos, these take time. Effort. Skill. Artistry. Intentionality.

Jennifer doesn’t just create photos. She creates heirlooms.”  ~Sarah

  1. The feelings that this lady had prior to having her photos taken, are ones that many women can identify with. Why, I am not sure, but I congratulate her friend for putting her name forward, and Sarah for facing her fears and going ahead with the photoshoot, despite being so anxious about it. In the hands of a professional, the beautiful and wow images that resulted are sure to be treasured by her and her family in years to come. Sarah – you are stunning, Jennifer – you are a fabulous photographer. (As an aside, I know neither ladies; I was just pointed towards this post!) Inspiration to book a photoshoot for myself, I think.

    1. Hello Jill!

      I just now saw your lovely comment – thank you! I’d LOVE to have you in the studio for a session! <3

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